WFP Emergency Report No. 39 of 2002

Report
from World Food Programme
Published on 27 Sep 2002


This report includes:
(A) Asia Region: (1) DPR of Korea

(B) East and Southern Africa Region: (1) Regional overview, (2) Lesotho, (3) Malawi, (4) Mozambique, (5) Zambia, (6) Zimbabwe, (7) Swaziland, (8) Ethiopia, (9) Sudan, (10) Uganda, (11) Burundi

(C) West Africa Region: (1) Sierra Leone (2) Guinea (3) Mauritania

(D) Central Africa Region: (1) Angola

(E) West and Central Asia Region: (1) Afghanistan, (2) Iran

(F) Latin America and Caribbean Region: (1) Cuba, (2) Ecuador, (3) Guatemala, (4) Nicaragua, (5) Caribbean Region, (6) Central America and Mexico

(G) Eastern Europe Region

From Francesco Strippoli, Director of the Office of Humanitarian Affairs; available on the Internet on the WFP Home Page (www.wfp.org), or by e-mail from Zlatan.Milisic@wfp.org.

For information on resources, donors are requested to contact Valerie.Sequeira@wfp.org at WFP Rome, telephone 39 06 6513 2009. Media queries should be directed to Trevor.Rowe@wfp.org, telephone 39 06 6513 2602. The address of WFP is Via Cesare Giulio Viola 68, Parco dei Medici, 00148 Rome, Italy.

A) Asia Region: (1) DPR of Korea

1) DPR of Korea

(a) WFP's stocks of blended food have been exhausted since August. A contribution of 9,000 tons of Corn Soya Milk is expected to arrive in late October, for distribution beginning in November. WFP cereal pipeline is breaking in September. To continue its food distributions through the end of this year, WFP requires urgently 86,000 tons of cereals. Owing to delivery times, additional pledges are also needed as soon as possible to cover the initial months of 2003. Pledges for wheat flour contributions are urgently requested for the Local Factory Productions programme.

(b) As of September, WFP was forced to stop cereal distributions on the west coast to about 1.4 million school children and elderly persons. This number will increase to 2 million by October when cereal rations will be cut for kindergarten children and pregnant and nursing women in the west of the country. In November and December, with the halting of cereal distributions to nursery children, about 3 million persons in the west will be deprived of their most essential food as the winter sets in. Prospects for continuing to assist one million targeted beneficiaries on the east coast from January onward also appear dim in the absence of any confirmed contributions.

(c) WFP is currently contributing to the preparation of the Nutrition Survey scheduled to take place in October. 45 WFP employees will be involved in this exercise. The FAO-WFP Crop and Food Supply assessment mission arrived in the country on 24 September and will travel until 5 October.

B) East and Southern Africa Region: (1) Regional overview, (2) Lesotho, (3) Malawi, (4) Mozambique, (5) Zambia, (6) Zimbabwe, (7) Swaziland, (8) Ethiopia, (9) Sudan, (10) Uganda, (11) Burundi

1) Regional overview

(a) A SADC regional logistics coordination meeting in Harare was attended by representatives of revenue bodies, immigration, customs, railway and transport associations from Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Issues discussed included road tolls, customs clearance procedures for cross-border truck movement and rail capacity. WFP held a debriefing for donors following this SADC logistics meeting and provided an update on the situation at border crossings and the challenges facing the humanitarian community in moving food throughout the region.

(b) USD 1million toward WFP's Special Operation for the Johannesburg-based Regional Management Coordination Unit was confirmed during the week. The Emergency Operation is now 36.5 percent funded, with a current shortfall of USD 322 million. Current WFP food aid shortfalls for October, November and December are 71,611 tons.

(c) UNICEF, in conjunction with WFP and Save the Children, has completed pilot awareness-raising workshops on the 'Prevention of Child Abuse and Sexual Exploitation in Humanitarian Crisis' in all six countries. In all countries, a country coordination group has been established. The three agencies are finalizing an agreement to move into a second phase which includes establishment of a regional coordination team, further development of core materials, employment of trainers in countries, and large-scale training efforts in countries.

2) Lesotho

(a) WFP has distributed over 280 tons of food to 25,460 beneficiaries in three districts over the week, bringing the total food aid distributed since the beginning of the emergency operation to 1,379 tons. 25 of the trucks donated by Norwegian Red Cross/IFRC arrived in country and IFRC is recruiting and training drivers. The Government confirmed that it will fund the milling of 10,000 tons of US maize that has arrived in Durban and is destined for Lesotho.

(b) Two new WFP sub-offices in Mohoktlong and Mafeteng are now operational, and food distributions are expected to begin in these districts this week, bringing the number of districts being reached to five. WFP signed an MOU with the Lesotho Red Cross to distribute food in Mokhotlong District, targeting 43,700 beneficiaries, and WFP participated in the training of Red Cross volunteers last week.

(c) Weather conditions have improved and farmers are beginning to plant. However the quality and amount of seeds may not be adequate. UNICEF will distribute USD 50,000 worth of vegetable seeds to selected households for promotion of kitchen gardens. FAO continues to procure 260 tons of various seeds for distribution to the worst-affected areas of the country.

3) Malawi

(a) During the week, WFP delivered 6,200 tons of food to almost 1,300 final delivery points under the emergency and development programmes. WFP will undertake school feeding activities targeting 110,000 school children in Lilongwe, Salima, Ntcheu, Kasungu, and Mangochi Districts. Food distributions will start once the orientation for teachers takes place during the first half of October. WFP food distributions targeting 7,500 AIDS-affected households in Lilongwe, Phalombe, Blantyre, and Chiradzulu Districts will begin the third week of October, following orientation workshops for implementing partners. These workshops will be organized jointly by WFP, the National Aids Commission, UNAIDS and UNDP.

(b) The World Bank announced a USD 50 million loan to Malawi to be used for agricultural inputs and job creation in rural areas, as well as to boost foreign exchange reserves.

4) Mozambique

(a) The Ministry of Agriculture held an operational meeting with the administrators of 48 drought-affected districts, WFP, FAO and donors. Discussion focused on the latest assessment results and the update of the Ministry's Action Plan for addressing the drought (MADER Plan). The Ministry presented a draft "Framework Guideline on the Use of Food Aid for Rural Development." WFP will support the MADER Plan through Food-for-Work activities. The Government distributed over 30,300 seed kits in the southern and central provinces (Maputo, Gaza, Manica, and Sofala).

5) Zambia

(a) WFP distributed 2,138 tons of white maize during the week. There have been several incidents of looting of NGO stores containing GM grain stocks in the Southern Province. The UN Field Security Officer and WFP are working to ensure the security measures are implemented to prevent further looting. The Zambian government announced a plan to distribute through November 40,000 tons of maize meal purchased from local millers. An increased need for supplementary and therapeutic feeding has been identified, and WFP and UNICEF are working together to increase capacity at all levels.

(b) In response to a Government request for assistance, the World Bank is proposing a USD 50 million credit to Zambia. Of this, USD35 million will finance a positive list of imports, USD7 million will be used for local purchase of seeds, fertilizers and other agricultural inputs for free delivery to most-affected households, USD7 million for labor-intensive public works program aimed at supplementing incomes of most vulnerable populations, and USD1 million for capacity building of public agencies involved in disaster management and early warning systems. An additional USD24.75 million may be re-allocated from existing Bank-financed projects for drought mitigation in specific areas such as school bursaries and feeding programs, public works, water and sanitation rehabilitation in schools and railway track bed strengthening.

6) Zimbabwe

(a) Between 20 February and 23 September, WFP has reached over 825,000 people with almost 44,200 tons of food. WFP distributions now cover 21 districts, and following current beneficiary registrations, will expand to 28 districts in October.

(b) The school dropout rate and child labor are on the increase throughout the country. Some teachers have reported 50 percent of pupils absent. WFP is planning with implementing NGOs to provide CSB porridge for pupils at selected schools in Manicaland Province. The British Department of International Development (DFID) announced plans to fund a meal a day for 1.5 million Zimbabwean children and vulnerable adults over a six-month period. The contribution of UK Pounds 14 million will be channeled through NGOs, and is part of a UK Pounds 45 million pledge made in June to southern Africa.

7) Swaziland

(a) During September, WFP has delivered to 11 NGO extended delivery points 1,418 tons of maize and 96 tons of oil, representing 95 percent of available commodities for the month. Pulses are expected to arrive for the October distribution. The Government is preparing a special budget to cover 40 percent of the food gap faced by the country.

8) Ethiopia

(a) October 7 is the new launch date for the joint Government of Ethiopia/United Nations Flash Appeal for food aid needs for the period October to December 2002. It will coincide with the visit to Ethiopia of Mr. Kenzo Oshima, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. Advance copies of the appeal will be circulated to donors earlier in the week.

(b) Over six million people are in need of assistance in October, up from the earlier July revised estimate of three million. The total revised requirements for cereals between now and the end of December are projected to be 245,100 tons.

(c) Two major donors have recently announced additional pledges of 167,000 tons of cereal to Ethiopia, including 100,000 tons channelled through WFP. Other donors have also indicated pledges to Ethiopia, which are expected to be confirmed in the near future. Even with these pledges, there is still a shortfall of approximately 75,000 tons of cereals to the end of the year.

(d) There has been no rain in most of central, eastern and southern Tigray for three weeks, leading to increasing concern about the crop conditions in these areas. Rain continues in various other parts of the country, but little has fallen on Afar region where rains so far have not been enough to rejuvenate pasture or significantly improve water supplies for people and livestock. Very little rain has fallen in Wag Hamra zone of Amhara region. There are indications of deyr rains beginning in some of the southern parts of Somali Region, although the northern zone of Shinile has suffered from insufficient rains and the Fik zone remains of special concern.

(e) Intensified relief distributions appear to have stabilised the nutritional situation in much of West Hararghe in Oromiya Region, where a nutritional survey is being carried out at this time. The situation of people remains very serious in the lowlands. Several international NGOs are now mobilising donor support to increase their food programmes in the area and the nearby badly affected zones, where necessary expand into general food distributions or supplementary food distributions and intervene in other hard hit parts of the country.

9) Sudan

(a) On 24 September, WFP warned that it is running out of food aid to assist Eritrean refugees living in camps in Sudan and appealed to donors to come forward urgently with new contributions. WFP has already been forced to cut by almost half the amount of food being distributed, and may have to suspend the operation altogether if no new donations are confirmed. WFP is currently assisting 91,000 refugees who are expected to return home during 2003 as part of a major voluntary repatriation exercise organized by UNHCR. About 50,000 refugees have voluntarily returned to Eritrea in the last 18 months.

(b) Concentrated in 20 camps in the eastern part of Sudan, the Eritrean refugees live in an extremely impoverished state. Many arrived as early as 1984 and have seen their access to food decline dramatically over the years. Some refugees were given access to land around the camps in order to improve their daily existence and to reduce the need for international assistance. However agricultural production has dropped by nearly half over the last two seasons, while market prices have steeply increased. Employment opportunities, such as day labour on nearby farms, have also grown increasingly scarce.

(c) WFP needs 9,769 tons of food, valued at approximately USD 5.2 million, to assist the Eritrean refugees until they are repatriated next year. Many of the high-energy commodities are rapidly running out, and rations have had to be reduced. This is putting the nutritional and health status of the refugees at severe risk. Already, malnutrition rates among children under five, pregnant and lactating women are high amongst the refugee population, with some 4,500 of the most vulnerable being cared for through Supplementary Feeding Programmes (SFP) in the camps.

(d) Recent donations amounting to USD 4.4 million have come at a critical time, but cover only a portion of the food requirements. Food or cash contributions from donors are urgently needed.

10) Uganda

(a) WFP distributed almost 7,000 tons of food to over 585,400 beneficiaries during the month of August under the PRRO 6176.00/10121.00 and the regional PRRO 10062.0. WFP continued to extend food aid assistance to over 530,400 IDPs and refugees in the Acholi sub-region amidst deteriorating security in August. WFP will continue to provide a full ration to IDPs in 40 isolated settlements for the next two months, pending a review of the food security situation in October. The deteriorating situation continues to curtail IDPs from accessing their gardens to harvest and plant for the second season crops.

(b) Acholpii refugee camp, home to over 24,000 people was closed by the Office of the Prime Minister following a violent attack by rebels of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) on 5 August. The attack resulted in the death of about 60 refugees, nationals and some government forces, and the loss of UNHCR and IRC vehicles and assets, refugee's belongings and 70 tons of WFP food (largely taken by refugees as they fled south to safety). Fearing another attack, some 24,000 refugees immediately fled to Lira town and to neighbouring trading centres.

(c) The refugees were temporarily accommodated in Kiryandongo refugee settlement in Masindi district where WFP distributed food to 27,000 refugees, including some who had previously been resident in locations other than Acholpii, but who fled to Kiryandongo to seek safety amidst increasing attacks by the LRA forces throughout northern Uganda. 8,000 refugees will be relocated to Kyangwali refugee settlement in southwestern Uganda in early September and the rest are proposed for relocation to Yumbe and Arua districts.

(d) Northern Kitgum District received an additional caseload of 4,000 Ugandan returnees (Acholi) from South Sudan who had fled to Sudan in late 1999 as a result of the civil insecurity in Kitgum. They came back escaping the recent confrontations between the UPDF and LRA inside Sudan.

(e) After the finalisation of relief food distribution to IDPs in Bundibugyo District, WFP commenced distribution of a three-month resettlement food ration to IDPs who have now returned to their homes after five years of displacement. This distribution was expected to be completed by 15 September after which assistance will be geared towards recovery activities through food-for-assets and support to education through the school-feeding programme. As of 31 August, 60,900 beneficiaries had received their settlement rations. Non-food items provided by WFP will be distributed immediately after completion of the food distribution.

(f) School feeding continued to expand in the West Nile despite the closure of some schools as a result of rebel presence in the Adjumani District: Out of a total of 38 nursery schools in Adjumani, ten that are neighbouring Zoka forest have closed for fear of imminent attack. On the other hand, 32 primary schools began school feeding in Adjumani District on a pilot basis and the number of primary schools in Arua has risen to 62 from 42 supported in July. The first indications show positive results in terms of increased attendance in schools and improved attentiveness in class.

11) Burundi

(a) During the first half of September, WFP started distributing Seeds Protection Rations (SPR) for the upcoming agricultural season. This distribution started in Muramvya province, where over 19,800 persons benefited from 220 tons of food. Beneficiaries are vulnerable people in the most highly insecure provinces of Burundi that have suffered frequent displacements and that are facing food shortages either as a result of looting or poor climatic conditions. WFP and FAO continued the joint review of the planning caseload based on the results of new assessments, including the joint FAO/WFP/UNICEF/ Ministry of Agriculture Food and Crop Assessment carried out in June 2002. WFP planned to reach 534,250 vulnerable persons with 8,855 tons of food.

(b) Confrontations were also reported in Bujumbura Rural province in the capital and in the suburbs of Kinama and Kanyosha. An aid worker working for World Outreach Initiatives was killed in the presumed safest residential quarter of Kiriri. Fighting intensified in Gitega and Ruyigi provinces during the first two weeks of September. As a result, WFP distributions in Bugendana commune (Giteya province) were severally postponed. 14,400 vulnerable persons could not be reached in Bugendana commune during the first week of September but WFP was able to distribute 150 tons of food to 18,565 persons in the same area the following week.

(c) From 2 to 15 September, WFP supplied 956 tons of food to various vulnerable groups. The beneficiary caseload included 63,000 vulnerable persons receiving targeted food rations in 3 provinces, 19,800 farmers involved in the SPR project in Muramvya province, 1,500 Burundian refugees repatriated from neighbouring countries and other vulnerable groups.

C) West Africa Region: (1) Sierra Leone (2) Guinea (3) Mauritania

1) Sierra Leone

(a) The influx of refugees along the Zimmi axis continued to decrease from 9 to 22 September. In Jembe and Gerihun refugee camps, WFP supported 8,200 beneficiaries with 95 tons.

(b) UNOCHA in collaboration with NaCSA officially declared all IDP camps in Kenema closed. The last batch of 500 IDP students/relatives was recently resettled in Kailahun. WFP collaborated with UNHCR to facilitate the resettlement of 343 returnees from Liberia to the Kailahun district.

(c) The UN expressed its intention to renew the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL). Citing the improving security situation in the country, UNAMSIL said that the 17,000- member strong peacekeeping force will be gradually reduced to 4,500 troops within eight months. However, UNAMSIL's civilian police force would be more than tripled to 185 members. For the humanitarian community, this phased withdrawal of UNAMSIL will help to maintain a stable and secure atmosphere, vital for humanitarian development work.

2) Guinea

(a) Two separate incidents have occurred in the Koyama sub-prefecture (N'Zérékoré region), near the Liberian border, between the Guinean army and unidentified armed assailants, apparently from Liberia. All humanitarian activity in that area has been suspended until further notice. The overall security situation in the rest of the country is stable and seems not to have been directly affected by the recent events in Ivory Coast.

(b) During the last two weeks, a number of incidents were reported at Kouankan's Liberian refugee camp and are reason for great concern for the local populations and humanitarian personnel security. WFP is taking a strong position within the UN to relocate the Liberian refugee population from the Kouankan camp, which has reached 33,000 (13,000 above capacity), to the Kissidougou camps. With the repatriation of Sierra Leonean refugees, there is increasing space to host refugees there. However all transfers from the Koyama/Fassankony area have been suspended due to the insecurity in the area. Since the beginning of the year, approximately 20,000 Liberian refugees have been transferred to the Kouankan refugee camp.

(c) The new Laïné refugee camp has opened and has received over 1,600 Liberian refugees, mainly from the Nonah transit center. During the last two weeks, WFP distributed almost 800 tons of food to 49,000 beneficiaries.

3) Mauritania

(a) Mauritania is facing alarming food shortages that could lead to mass starvation unless action is taken, M. Manuel Aranda da Silva, WFP Regional Director for West Africa, declared during a press conference on 26 September. Around 750,000 of Mauritania's population of 2.7 million are already affected by food shortages with malnutrition taking on alarming proportions.

(b) The distribution of 3,558 tons of wheat under WFP's emergency operation 10147.0 started immediately after the Government's declaration of emergency on 1 September and is expected to be completed by the end of this month. Although six regions are targeted under this EMOP (Hodh el Gharbi, Hodh el Chargui, Gorgol, Assaba, Tagant, and Brakna), only those which were targeted to receive a wheat ration alone received WFP's emergency assistance since the full food basket has yet to become available due to delayed donor response to this operation. This distribution will ensure the coverage of 108,500 persons for 3 months.

(c) Although significant rainfall during the last two weeks has produced pasture in certain areas, the rain-fed crop forecast remains bleak since these rains have come too late to reverse drought damage to date. The rain-fed crop harvest is thus expected to fail.

(d) WFP received only 30 percent of the USD 7.5 million it asked for its emergency operation. Donor support is essential for WFP to carry out its planned activities.

D) Central Africa Region: (1) Angola

1) Angola

(a) WFP's caseload is expected to continue to grow rapidly in October. Initial estimates indicate that the number of beneficiaries will increase from 1.4 million in September to 1.8 million in October. This causes serious concerns as WFP expects to face critical pipeline breaks for cereals in January 2003. Urgent donations are immediately needed allow sufficient time to make the commodities available in the country. In addition, the stock of pulses in southern Angola is exhausted due to the delay of a vessel expected to deliver 686 tons of peas in Namibe port.

(b) Road and air transportation of food from the logistics centres have been increased in order to cope with the growing needs WFP is meeting throughout the country. Pre-positioning of food is continuing albeit with some difficulties due to poor condition of transport infrastructure. During the week, 64 commercial trucks dispatched about 1,800 tons of food from Lobito to Huambo and Menongue. Air operations are also running at full capacity with 370 tons of food airlifted to Mavinga, Luena, Cazombo, Cuemba and Calala from Catumbela airport near Lobito.

(c) WFP food distributions were resumed in Bunjei (Huambo province) after temporary suspension. Approximately 17,500 displaced people were assisted with 288 tons of food. Distributions also took place in new accessible areas of Katchiungo and Tchicala-Tcholahanga for 4,300 beneficiaries.

(d) WFP continues to strengthen its operational capacity at Mavinga (Kuando Kubango province) through deployment of staff and equipment and has established a sub-office in Mavinga. At present, WFP is providing general food assistance to approximately 85,000 people in Mavinga and is also supplying food to the nutritional feeding programmes run by MSF-CH, where the number of admissions is reportedly rising. A total of 1,740 people from Kueio and Mira-Uria arrived at Dima (20 kms from Mavinga Sede). Large population influxes are continuing with a further 10,000 new arrivals to the area expected late in the week.

(e) Four trucks that were intended to reach Mavinga and strengthen the current fleet transporting WFP food, could not reach Mavinga due to the bad road conditions. In order to preposition stock for the Mavinga operation WFP is now making six flight rotations per day. Alternative longer-term transport solutions are also being pursued. In order to maintain WFP's Mavinga operations, around 1,600 tons of food need to be airlifted before the end of the month. This is threatened by a lack of funding to WFP's special operation for cargo transport.

E) West and Central Asia Region: (1) Afghanistan, (2) Iran

1) Afghanistan

(a) WFP Afghanistan Emergency Operation as of last week still faces a shortfall of 22.5 percent, or USD 64.1 million. Breaks in the cereal pipeline are expected from October onwards, affecting winter prepositioning plans as well as planned distributions during the last quarter of 2002. Donors are encouraged to make cash contributions that will be used to purchase food in the region to cover the cereal needs of 84,500 tons and ensure delivery of food into Afghanistan before winter sets in.

(b) Over the past 3 weeks field data collection and data entry for the 2002/2003 VAM Countrywide Assessment, has been completed. The objectives of the VAM 2002 Countrywide Assessment exercise was to determine where food aid is required among the areas assessed, and the type and severity of food insecurity in the villages visited. In addition by analysing changes in the sources of food, food preparation practices, diversity of diet, and evidence of micronutrient deficiency, the study aims to gain a deeper understanding of which types of food is need to be included in the food aid basket.

(c) The preliminary findings of this assessment were released last week. The results are consistent with those of the Crop and Food Supply Assessment. Increased precipitation in the north and west of the country has resulted in increased production and an improvement in overall food security in those areas. The main areas of concern are the southern and eastern provinces as well as Uruzgan, Bamyan and Wardak provinces where the drought continues to have a negative impact on food security and livelihoods. Furthermore, the assessment has identified pockets with acute levels of food insecurity, most notably in the northeastern provinces of Badakhshan, Baghlan and Takhar. The Central Highlands and the provinces of Ghor, Sari Pul, Faryab and Farah continue to experience high levels of food insecurity, despite an overall improvement of the general food situation from last year.

(d) The results of the assessment also indicate that not more than ten percent of the irrigated land has been cultivated in the northern part of the central area. Food crops will not be able to cover the minimum food requirement for more than five months and main coping mechanisms include displacement, wage labour, migration, loans, selling livestock and land and joining the military.

(e) In the southern area, the drought-affected populations (including subsistence farmers and the nomadic Kuchi pastoralists) are considering migration to other areas in search of job opportunities and other sources of income and food. Some 26,900 households are food insecure in Lashkargah city. Local authorities expressed the need for immediate food intervention for 8,500 families in Mukthar and Lashkargah camps.

(f) The eastern area was relatively quiet during last week, but UN missions to Kunar province continue to be suspended due to insecurity. Following inter-factional fighting in Nangarhar province, 500 houses were burnt, leaving 3,000 people homeless. All the missions to Kohistanat district in Sari Pul province (northern area) remain suspended, and caution is required when travelling in Jawzjan province where tensions are still high. Incidents also continue to be reported in the southern area.

(g) From 18 to 24 September, more than 368,300 beneficiaries received at least 7,000 tons of food through various WFP activities. The beneficiary caseload included approximately 99,700 IDPs and refugees, 153,600 people involved in the urban vulnerable bakery projects, 1,800 malnourished people admitted in SFP as well as civil servants, workers involved in Food for Asset Creation and Food for Work projects and school children enrolled in the Food for Education programme.

2) Iran

(a) As of 22 September, over 202,900 refugees have repatriated from Iran to Afghanistan since the start of the UNHCR assisted Voluntary Repatriation Programme on 9 April 2002. In March 2001, 2.3 million Afghans took part in the registration exercise carried out by the Iranian authorities. They have been settled mostly in Tehran, Sistan-Baluchistan, Esfahan and Khorassan provinces. Reportedly up to two-thirds of the Afghans arrived in Iran during the Taliban era.

(b) Food distribution to 25,000 victims of earthquake in Qazvin province under WFP EMOP 10227.0 is expected to commence on 2 October.

(c) A joint WFP/UNHCR screening mission to Be'sat camp in Khuzestan province took place on 15-17 September. The mission identified 760 vulnerable refugees who are in need of WFP assistance. Be'sat camp (Iraqi/Arab) is going to be the 29th refugee camp in Iran to be assisted by WFP. In line with WFP's Gender Policy, only women will be registered as representatives of a refugee family in Be'sat camp. In addition, a women food committee in the camp will plan and manage the food distribution in the coming year.

F) Latin America and Caribbean Region: (1) Cuba, (2) Ecuador, (3) Guatemala, (4) Nicaragua, (5) Caribbean Region, (6) Central America and Mexico

1) Cuba

(a) Hurricane Isidore crossed over the Island of Youth and the province of Pinar del Rio on 20 September, causing major flooding and damage. Isidore was the second hurricane to hit the Caribbean this year. Approximately 292,000 persons were evacuated of which 31,300 remained in temporary shelters as of 24 September. In the Island of Youth, reports indicate that 756 houses were damaged, of which 77 are completely destroyed. The floods and heavy winds also affected schools, hospitals, electricity and communication buildings. Plantain and basic crops were also damaged. No human lives were lost.

(b) During 26 and 27 September UN agencies including WFP, will be carrying out a rapid assessment in the affected sites and collecting information on damage. A joint UN document will be subsequently issued on actions to be taken by each UN agency.

2) Ecuador

(a) Last week, the monitoring system of the Tungurahua Volcano Observatory registered a significant increase in the volcano's activity. The mayors of Quero, Penipe, Guano and Cevallos, as well as the emergency operations committee of the provinces of Tungurahua and Chimborazo were warned of the volcano's activity, and the possibility of ash emissions in the coming days. The constant ash emissions have considerably reduced livestock production. Production costs for crops such as potato, onion and peas have sharply increased. The impact of this situation is increasing the food insecurity of families.

(b) WFP is jointly working with other UN agencies, Civil Defense, COPEFEN (Emergency Programme Coordination Unit for El Niño Phenomenon), Red Cross, scientific institutes, Ecuadorian Navy, National Emergency Operations Committee, to prepare for the El Niño.

3) Guatemala

(a) A red alert was declared nationwide as a result of the Hurricane Isidore. Heavy rains and flooding are expected during the next days. Flooding is being reported in the river basins of Coyolote, Guacalate, Nahuatan, Samala and Sis in the provinces of Retalhuleu, Suchitepequez, Escuintla and Costa de San Marcos. Approximately 300 families were evacuated and accommodated in temporary shelters.

(b) Hurricane Isidore also left behind agricultural damages in the region. Maize, beans, plantains and sesame are the most affected crops. A joint assessment mission, coordinated by WFP, Ministry of Agriculture, UNDP, UNICEF, CONRED and FIS will begin on 26 September.

4) Nicaragua

(a) The government of Nicaragua has lifted both the yellow alert for the Pacific Region and the green alert for the rest of the country. The evacuation in Managua of 300 persons, of which 182 are children, was carried out in view of the flooding caused by Hurricane Isidore on 21 September. The affected families remain in 4 temporary shelters but expect to return shortly to their homes.

(b) Last week, a second distribution of WFP food was expected to benefit subsistence coffee farmers in the northern province of Matagalpa. 250 tons of food will be delivered to 5,300 heads of households.

5) Caribbean Region

(a) On 18 September, Isidore hit Jamaica causing major flooding. No further information was available as of 25 September. Tropical storm Lili is slowing down over the eastern Caribbean Sea. A tropical storm watch is in effect for the southern coasts of Dominican Republic and Haiti. Some forecasts indicate that Lili could become a hurricane. In Haiti, the Civil Defense has asked for UN agencies to be on alert in view of possible damages.

6) Central America and Mexico

(a) In El Salvador, 100 families were evacuated in the province of Ahuachapan due to major flooding caused by Hurricane Isidore. Along the Yucatan region in Mexico, also hit by the hurricane, approximately 70,000 persons were evacuated to temporary shelters. Classes were cancelled for 480,000 students.

G) Eastern Europe Region

1) North Caucasus

(a) On 26 September military operations began in the Galashki village of Ingushetia, bordering with Chechnya and Georgia (about 30 km distance). One military helicopter was shot down and casualties among the soldiers were reported. Most of the village's 6,000 inhabitants fled to other areas of Ingushetia. The IDP camps in Sleptoskaya and UN offices in Nazran are about 20 km away from the Galashki village. This is the first time in three years that such fighting erupted in the Republic of Ingushetia.

(b) According to Danish Refugee Council (DRC), 110,800 Chechen IDPs live in Ingushetia, which up to now has been considered a 'safe haven'. The majority of IDPs interviewed by WFP monitors was reluctant to consider returning to Chechnya in the foreseeable future for security reasons. According to UNHCR, 100 IDPs returned to Chechnya while 439 people came out of Chechnya during September.

(c) For the month of September, WFP allocated a total of 3,880 tons of food for about 290,000 beneficiaries in Ingushetia and Chechnya. With the opening of schools this month WFP resumed its school feeding programme in Chechnya, expanding its operation to two more districts. WFP allocated 228 tons of food for 42,600 school children in Grozny City, Grozny Rural, Achkhoy-Martan, Sunzha and Gudermes districts of Chechnya.

Note: All tonnage figures in this report refer to metric tons.

(End WFP Emergency Report No 39).